Two lawsuits filed by Colwyn Harding against the Attorney General and Police Constable Devin Singh for alleged police brutality were on Tuesday dismissed by Justice Navindra Singh. This was after Harding failed to comply with a previous court order which was granted earlier in the year.
Back in 2014, Harding mounted the lawsuits in which he sought millions of dollars in damages after he alleged two Police ranks sodomised him with a baton.
On February 1, Justice Singh had dismissed the actions for want of prosecution. He subsequently granted an order recalling that previous order on the condition that Harding pays $150, 000 costs each to the Attorney General and Police Constable Singh on or before July 16, 2021.
As these payments remained unpaid as of Tuesday morning, Justice Singh indicated that both actions stood dismissed, and awarded costs to the Attorney General and Singh in the sum of $1M each.
In the action, Colwyn Harding v. Police Constables T. Thomas and Devin Singh, Harding alleged that he was assaulted and battered by the Police ranks and sustained injuries. Specifically, he contended that he was viciously assaulted by several members of the Guyana Police Force on November 15, 2013.
The ranks, he said, had entered his home.
He claimed that Constable Singh inserted a foreign object [a baton] into his anus triggering a need for corrective surgery and that the said rank repeatedly assaulted him in the Timehri Police Outpost between November 15 and 18 2013.
The State had denied these claims.
Specifically, the State asserted that the medical evidence did not support Harding’s contention of a foreign object being inserted into his anatomy and that any surgical procedures undertaken were as a result of a medical condition which he had developed.
In this action, Harding had asked the Court to grant him the following orders: damages in excess of $100,000 for assault, exemplary damages, and Court costs.
In the other Statement of Claim, Colwyn Harding v. Attorney General, Harding alleged that his fundamental rights were breached as a result of the actions of the Police ranks.
He, therefore, asked the Court to grant him the following orders: damages in excess of $80 million for breach of his fundamental right to protection from torture and or inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed by Article 141 of the Constitution of Guyana and damages in excess of $100 million for breach of his protected fundamental right to protection from inhuman treatment.
He also asked the Court to award him, damages in excess of $100 million for breach of his fundamental right to protection against the arbitrary search of his person as guaranteed by Article 143 of the Constitution; damages in excess of $100 million for breach of his right to protection against torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment as provided by Article 154A of the Constitution and the Convention against Torture and Other Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and damages in excess of $100 million breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Article 139 of the Constitution.
In March 2016, Constables Singh and Roselle Tilbury-Douglas, who were accused of brutalizing Harding, who alleged that he was sodomised with a baton, were cleared of all charges by a Magistrate.
During the trial, Harding was absent on numerous occasions which led to counsel for the police ranks asking for the matter to be dismissed.
As a result, the presiding Magistrate after instructing the Prosecution to close its case found that there was not sufficient evidence to prove the charge, and as such dismissed the matter.
Following the dismissal of the matters, the Attorney General’s Chambers on Tuesday noted that many organisations came out in condemnation of the Guyana Police Force, obviously believing Harding’s allegations to be true and correct.
The Chambers reminded that the Police Force had vehemently denied the allegations and had publicly disclosed that a doctor had examined Harding and did not find evidence of the injuries which he claimed he sustained at the hands of the police.
According to the AG Chambers, Constable Singh against whom the allegations were made, received several death threats and was forced to flee his home and live elsewhere for several years. To date, he remains interdicted from duty since 2014, the missive disclosed.
After such irreparable damage was done to members of the Guyana Police Force, the State, and Police Constable Devin Singh, Mr. Harding eludes coming to Court to present his case, and defend the grave, and serious allegations he made,” the statement added.
Harding’s lawyer was Nigel Hughes.